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Fourth gold for paddler Madhurika Patkar

S. Sabanayakan

Bhandari retains marathon gold despite faux pas



ALL SMILES: Madhurika Patkar, who won four gold medals in the table tennis event at the South Asian Games.

DHAKA: The 11th South Asian Games was disgraced with one of the biggest faux pas committed during the conduct of the marathon on Tuesday, the final day of the 12-day Games here.

Taking things for granted, the event was started on time from the National Stadium with much fanfare without knowing there was something amiss.

When the ultimate winner from Nepal, Rajendra Bahadur Bhandari, kicked to the finish line near the Army Headquarters, the clock showed the winning time as one hour, 59 minutes and some seconds, a world record time.

It was then that the technical officials realised that something was wrong and a quick calculation showed the course was at least 7 km short, if not more. Meanwhile, the medal ceremony was conducted despite a protest lodged by Sri Lanka.

According to one of the technical officials from India, who is here on an Asian Athletic Federation assignment, it was decided to withhold the timing and allow the result to stand.

This meant Bhandari got the gold medal for Nepal, Sri Lanka’s Ajith Bandara Adikari the silver and India’s Ram Singh the bronze.

Madhurika Patkar became the third Indian athlete to win four gold medals outside shooting in these Games. Madhurika won the fourth gold by taking the women’s singles title of the table tennis event beating K. Shamini 4-2. Down two games 7-11, 8-11, Madhurika, who had won the women’s doubles and mixed doubles titles earlier, roared back to take the next four at 12-10, 11-9, 11-9, 11-6. She was also part of the gold-winning women’s team.

Anthony Amalraj’s efforts to win the final medal of the Games, and his fourth, came a cropper when top-seeded Soumyadeep Roy stopped him at 11-6, 6-11, 8-11, 11-4, 11-5, 11-9 to win his first individual gold medal having lost the men’s doubles and mixed doubles finals.

It was a clean sweep by the table tennis players who claimed seven gold and five silver medals leaving the bronze for other participating countries.

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